The Thai cabinet, at its meeting in the southern province of Krabi on Tuesday, endorsed a proposal from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to nominate six national parks and a mangrove forest in the Andaman Sea to the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The proposed sites cover a total area of 2,908 square kilometres in the southern provinces of Ranong, Phang-nga and Phuket. These include 1,159.55 square kilometres of proposed World Heritage sites and 1,748.45 square kilometres of buffer zones around them.
The sites to be proposed for inclusion on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage sites are:
- Mu Ko Ranong National Park in Ranong province which is rich with mangrove forest, ecological diversity, sea caves and rare wildlife species, such as white-handed gibbons and Lyle’s flying fox (Pteropus Lylei).
- Laem Son National Park, in Ranong and Phang-nga, is reputed to be an ideal breeding ground for several marine species, such as the grass turtle. It also covers mangrove forests which have been declared part of the world’s biosphere.
- Mu Ko Surin National Park in Phang-nga province is a recognised world-class diving site and contains a huge coral reef.
- Similan Islands National Park boasts perfect deep-sea corals and rare marine species, such as sperm whales and manta rays.
- Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Muang National Park in Phang Nga, which is the only remaining nesting ground for the Leatherback sea turtle on the eastern coasts of the Indian Ocean.
- Sirinat National Park in Phuket.
All the proposed sites will be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre by April 15th, to be ready for the 45th convention of the World Heritage Committee.
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